By Kalinowski, Tim on January 3, 2020.
Two 17-year-old male youths are facing charges in connection with an alleged home invasion incident in west Lethbridge on New Year’s Eve.
According to police, just after 11 p.m. on Tuesday officers responded to a residence in the 100 block of Simon Fraser Boulevard West after receiving a 911 call reporting several people had entered a residence wearing disguises and brandishing pellet guns.
Police said veiled threats were made toward the occupants of the home before the suspects discharged the pellet guns into property, causing a small amount of damage. The suspects then fled in nearby vehicles prior to police arrival.
No one inside the residence was injured during the incident.
Subsequent police investigation led officers to the 1200 block of 9 Avenue North where one of the implicated vehicles was located. Five individuals were taken into custody without incident. A pellet gun was recovered during the investigation.
“Our investigation has resulted in two 17-year-old males from Lethbridge being charged with break and enter and commit mischief, disguise with intent, and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public,” confirmed Lethbridge Police Service Insp. Jason Walper at a press conference held about the incident on Thursday.
“There is the anticipation that other people could be charged as a result of what happened,” Walper added, “and certainly our investigators are following up with other witnesses and those individuals at this time.”
The two charged youths were brought back to the police service and appeared before a Justice of the Peace. They were both subsequently released to appear before the court at a later time. Their names are being withheld by police because they are under the age of 18 years.
Walper said the individuals taken into custody and those charged have had previous involvement with the victims.
“It appears these two groups of individuals have had previous altercations,” Walper stated before confirming the incident is not being investigated as a mere prank taken too far. “The people that entered the house with the pellet guns were doing so in a manner to intimidate those inside the home.”
Walper said the alleged perpetrators were fortunate not to be caught on scene with pellet guns still in hand.
“It is really difficult for anybody, including law enforcement, to know the difference between a pellet gun and an actual firearm at the time of something like this happening,” he explained. “To us it looks like a firearm, and our officers are trained to act according to what they see. That certainly endangers those using pellet guns believing it is just a pellet gun – but certainly a pellet gun looks very similar to a genuine firearm.”
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